Poetry in motion at city art gallery performance

A performance of poetry by students at Coventry University is taking place at a free event at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum next week.

The poetry reading is to be delivered by students on the University’s new English and Creative Writing degree.  Earlier this year, they were invited by the Herbert’s curators to write verses inspired by the museum’s collections of artworks and paintings. The undergraduates got to work on their creative writing brief and the poems they produced as a result have been displayed on plaques by the permanent exhibits at the Herbert since the summer.

The poems, which have also been recorded in a special anthology, are presented alongside the artists’ own descriptions of their works to enrich the visitor experience by offering viewers a fresh perspective of the collections on show. Now the students will give their poetry a public airing as part of a special performance on Tuesday 10 December. The collaborative production, combining visual art and the spoken word, marks another stage in the development of a burgeoning creative relationship between the University and the Herbert.

The venture forms part of an ongoing effort by the University’s English and Languages department to explore different artistic experiences in joint projects with local industries and exhibitions to the community. Alyson Morris, course director for the English and Creative Writing degree at Coventry University, said: “The brief for our students was to use their creative writing skills to complement another art form and they responded superbly to the challenge they were set. Their work offers viewers a new and interesting take on the exhibits on show at the Herbert and we hope that the forthcoming performance will offer further enjoyment for visitors.”

Tim Kelly, senior lecturer in Creative Writing at Coventry University said: “By placing the poems alongside the artworks and artefacts in the museum, the appreciation of the artworks is altered. The poems force the viewer to pause and contemplate, so passive consumption is transformed into a more active reflection. The public reading further transforms the audience experience and we are looking forward to what should be an entertaining and thought-provoking event.”

The poetry reading and performance will take place from 3pm to 4pm on Tuesday 10 December at the Herbert Café in the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Jordan Well, Coventry, CV1 5QP. Attendance is free.